WARRIORS head coach Zdravko Logarusic has called on local football stakeholders to learn from their past mistakes by ensuring that the senior national team adequately prepares for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.
The Warriors were Tuesday evening drawn in Group B of the 24-team continental competition where they will face Senegal, Guinea, and Malawi.
Zimbabwe will head into the tournament aiming to progress from the group stages of the AFCON finals for the first time in what will be their fifth appearance at Africa’s biggest football tournament.
And Croatian mentor, Logarusic, who became the first foreign coach to lead the Warriors to AFCON qualification, has spoken of the need to ensure that the national side has adequate preparations ahead of the tournament.
Poor preparations have in the past been blamed for Zimbabwe’s failure to do well at major tournaments as was the case two years ago in Egypt when a row between the players and ZIFA overshadowed the country’s disastrous campaign.
“We have to learn from our mistakes we made before, especially in the last Afcon tournament. That means we need to just focus on football, we need to be prepared properly, we need to finish things much earlier. That means when we come out there, we shouldn’t have any issues, we should just be focused on football,” Logarusic said.
Logarusic, whose suitability to take the Warriors to the AFCON tourney has been questioned after a poor run of results since his appointment, challenged his players to finally live up to their tag as the “golden generation” of Zimbabwean football.
“All the time we are saying we have the golden generation but it’s time now for the golden generation now to show the gold,” he said.
“I am sure we will do something better than most of the people are expecting. I want us to pass the group stage, I want to make our football lovers happy and I want us to produce results we have never produced before,” Logarusic said.
He however cautioned against underestimating the opponents in their group.
“So many people were saying it’s an easy group, I think they are wrong because all those 24 countries which came to the Africa Cup of Nations also have the same goal, for sure they have quality, for sure there is a reason why they are in Afcon,” he said.
Zimbabwe kicked off their campaign the 2019 AFCON runners-up Senegal on January 10 at Kouekong Stadium Bafoussam before facing Malawi four days later at the same venue.
The Warriors round off their group matches against Guinea on 18 January at Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo in Yaoundé.